Criminal Defense Process: Steps to Take After Being Arrested

Being arrested and charged with crimes is a daunting and frightening experience. Those facing the intimidating tactics of law enforcement officers sometimes forget their legal rights. That’s often the point of these tactics. Suspects may even be tricked or bullied into giving up their rights to prove they are willing to cooperate with law enforcement.

Being arrested does not mean you give up your legal rights. The criminal defense team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration aggressively defends those charged with criminal offenses in Las Vegas, protecting them from overzealous police and prosecutors. That’s why we’ve provided this guide to the steps you can take to prevent yourself from being taken advantage of during this challenging time.

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Steps in the Nevada Criminal Process

The Nevada criminal justice process is complicated, and numerous steps exist between being arrested and facing a judge. During any of these, your rights may be violated or your case jeopardized because you aren’t aware of your legal rights after arrest. Understanding the legal process can help you prepare for what’s ahead and protect yourself from the strategies law enforcement and prosecutors may use against you.

Steps in Criminal Process

Evidence and Indictments

Before law enforcement makes an arrest, they typically conduct a pre-file investigation. During this stage, investigators look into suspected criminal activity and gather evidence that potentially supports their assertion that a particular individual is involved in illegal activity. Upon conclusion of a pre-file investigation, law enforcement hands over their finding to the District Attorney. The D.A. reviews the information and chooses whether to press charges and seek a warrant from a judge for the individual’s arrest. In high-profile cases, findings may go to a grand jury that decides whether there is sufficient evidence to charge an individual with a criminal offense.


Depending on the results of the pre-file investigation, law enforcement may be issued a warrant to arrest an individual suspected of committing a criminal offense. Alternatively, an officer with “probable cause” to believe a person committed a crime can also arrest without a warrant. After an arrest, the arrestee gets booked into jail, where they are fingerprinted, have a mugshot taken, and thoroughly searched. An arrestee then waits in a holding cell pending the judge setting bail.


An arrestee can be released from jail if they offer the court money through bail. Bail is a monetary promise that the arrested individual will fulfill their commitments to the court, including making court appearances and following court orders. Bail is set depending on the nature of the criminal offense and the perceived likelihood that the accused will attempt to flee. More serious crimes carry higher bail. In severe cases, a judge may refuse to set bail entirely.


Your first court appearance is called an arraignment. During an arraignment, the prosecution presents you with a criminal complaint listing the offenses you allegedly committed. You can then enter a plea. The judge then sets the date of your next court appearance.

Pretrial Conferences

After arraignment, your case hits the pretrial phase, meaning the D.A. must submit their evidence to your defense attorney as part of discovery. The defense and D.A. conduct pretrial conferences to discuss the case and potential plea bargains for settling it outside of the courtroom. Your criminal defense attorney can review the evidence and build a defense strategy during this time.

Preliminary hearings may be necessary if you are facing felony charges. These are sometimes called mini-trials, where the judge can evaluate whether there is enough evidence for the case to move from the justice court to the district court.


Your case moves to trial if you do not reach a plea bargain or if the case is not otherwise dropped or dismissed. Each side presents their arguments, and either a judge or jury determines guilt or innocence.


The judge can impose a sentence if you plead or are found guilty. Your sentence depends on the nature of the crime and can include fines, incarceration, probation, community service, and other court orders.


If you are found guilty of a criminal offense but believe errors were committed during the process, you may be able to appeal your conviction to a higher court. You may also file a motion for a new trial. An attorney can help you find the right path forward, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Selecting a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Team

The sooner you retain legal assistance with your case, the more time your attorney has to protect your legal rights and build a compelling defense. Law enforcement may use aggressive and intimidating tactics to get you to talk or defend yourself during questioning. Speaking to law enforcement without an attorney is seldom in your best interest. Whether you are going in for questioning or the authorities have arrested you and are in the middle of the booking process, ask to speak to an attorney before you do anything else.

Remember, you have the right to remain silent. Exercise that right immediately to protect yourself. Next, contact a skilled Las Vegas criminal defense attorney for help. You cannot talk yourself out of this situation. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials want you to feed them the information they need to build their case against you.

The award-winning team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration is ready to offer you the protection, guidance, and support you need during this difficult time. We will take the time to get to know you and review the unique aspects of your case before crafting a tailored defense strategy. It is easy to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed by the criminal legal process. Our experienced criminal defense team can thoroughly explain the criminal justice process, offer unique perspectives on your case, and guide you on your next steps. We want to achieve the most favorable outcome possible for the circumstances of your case.

 Contact Our Seasoned Criminal Defense Team Today for Help

Are you facing criminal charges in Las Vegas? Do not navigate this challenging situation alone. Instead, get help only an experienced Las Vegas criminal defense team can provide. At De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration, we know what’s at stake and are ready to protect your freedom and reputation. Contact our Dream Team today for a confidential case evaluation with a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer.